Elizabeth's Reviews > When She Woke

When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
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Oct 18, 2011

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bookshelves: fiction
Read from October 17 to 18, 2011

Cautionary tale about separation of church and state. As is KEEP THEM SEPARATE. Much like Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" this book is set in a future where a super STD has rendered most women sterile (and so) Roe vs. Wade has been appealed. Except, "When She Woke," is actually a retelling of the "Scarlet Letter." Instead of a big, red "A" Hannah Payne (Hester Pryne) is tinted red for having had an abortion after her famous (and married) BF Pastor Aiden Dale (Reverand Dimmesdale) gets her pregnant.

Truly horrific scenes are presented to the reader in this futuristic, dystopic, American society. I give props to Hillary Jordan for the concept of this novel. A classic story retold with a current twist/setting is one of my favorite reads.

And yet.

The last third of the book was just not as strong as its beginning and was even a bit silly at times. If this reader had her way, Ms. Jordan would have taken as much time developing the characters and ideas she put forth in the beginning and resisted the cliches found at the end: not all Christians are brutes! sexuality can be fluid/complicated! there is freedom in independence!
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Reading Progress

10/20 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Will Byrnes I just began this Wednesday (am only about 30 pps in). Did you catch the Crawford reference?

Elizabeth I did not- tragic. AND I already returned it to the library. Do tell, though!

Will Byrnes The prison which colors Hannah's world is located in Crawford, Tx. I suspect a ref there to certain ex-president.

Elizabeth Very astute of you- and so disappointed I missed what now seems obvious. Arghh.

Will Byrnes How about a reference to Oliver Twist, by way of a guard named "Billy" Sikes.

Will Byrnes Or residents of a fundamentalist halfway-house being named (I think) for a rather well known Texas ranger.

Elizabeth Oh, Hillary Jordan.
I have a new crush.

Cecily To be fair (and given how much I disliked the book, I'm being generous here), Jordan DOES make it clear that not all churches - even in her dytopian world - are homophobic. She doesn't like Mormons, though.

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